What We’re Missing Most About Notting Hill Carnival This Year

What comes to your mind when you think of the August bank holiday weekend? Is it the extra day off? The end of summer? For me and other Black Brits, it’s Notting Hill Carnival. Since I can remember, my bank holiday plans have revolved around the yearly event.

In truth, who needs any other plan than Carnival? For some, it’s simply an all-day party, but for Black Brits, especially the Caribbean community, it’s also a celebration of culture. I associate Carnival with community, resistance and freedom. And the history behind the street celebration is a powerful one.

Notting Hill Carnival was created as a response to the Notting Hill race riots in which a group of Teddy boys attacked the local West Indian community in 1958. In January 1959, Trinidadian journalist and activist Claudia Jones held the first event, dubbed Claudia’s Caribbean Carnival, at St Pancras Town Hall, which was televised by the BBC. It moved around for a few more years until it settled into its rightful place in west London, the last and biggest party of summer.

Carnival has gone from strength to strength and now sees up to a million people roaming the streets of London W10 and W11 every August, and all the style, sound systems, food stalls, and all-important afterparties that go with it.

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